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Bic Runga

Hitting the right note: Q&A with musical talent Bic Runga

Bic Runga is one of Canterbury’s most successful exports and, although she hasn’t gone far – just the other end of the country – Christchurch is where her heart is.

Bic Runga

Bic released her debut album Drive in August 1997 to popular acclaim; an album that is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most iconic. It secured the New Zealand Music Award for Album of the Year in 1998, after going seven times platinum.
But that was only the beginning for this prodigious talent who has been hitting the right note for more than 20 years, collecting some of the country’s biggest musical accolades.
Metropol caught up with Bic – its Chinese checked vowel making pronunciation closer to Bec – about her musical passion and living in the moment.

Where did your musical passion come from and how was that nurtured?

I’m the youngest in my family and I remember on rainy days my big sisters would say “ok, let’s all write some songs!” I was five when I wrote my first song. It was called Snow Flake. It’s quite a good thing to get little kids to do before they think that they can’t.

You come from such a musical family, are your children musical?

My children are really musical and my 10 year old son just announced that he wants to be a musician! Most parents would shudder at the thought of this, but for me it was a relief; at least I know what to do with him now!

How has your song writing evolved throughout your career?

I had a good run between the ages of 18 and 27, I wrote a lot and I didn’t doubt myself. Then I got the fear! Now that I’ve had a family and I’m in what you might call the middle years, I feel experienced and more excited to do things however I want to, without rules.

What do you consider to be some of your most defining career highlights?

Getting a lifetime achievement award a couple of years ago, living and working in London as a musician and having Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin come to a couple of my shows! That was funny, I thought I could retire after that.

How do you juggle the demands of work and family?

With great difficulty! I try to be positive; sometimes when you’re exhausted that’s all there is! And learning new skills keeps me happy. I’m learning to engineer and mix music more – technical stuff that I never got too involved in before suddenly interests me, so everything is new again.

Where do you draw your inspiration from and who are some of your favourite artists?

I’m looking to older women as inspiration these days – Alice Coltrane, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono. To commit to being an artist for the long haul is really exciting to me.

How does it feel to be hailed as an icon of the New Zealand music scene?

I don’t think about it too much, especially not these days. I think it’s good to look forward and not look back too much. Don’t they say the secret to happiness is a short memory? I think it’s good to live in the present and have things to look forward to.

Why did you make the decision to become involved with the Māia Health Foundation?

Working with the people at Maia has been such a pleasure. Musicians get so much air time and sometimes my interviews seem like I’m repeating myself so it’s good to have something else to rep, something else to advocate for. I’ve never been an ambassador for a charity before and it feels good to be involved in this one in my hometown.

Do you get the opportunity to get back to Christchurch very often? What are some of your favourite things to do or places to go in Christchurch?

The Arts Centre was my stomping ground in high school so I always feel happy and nostalgic when I’m in that part of town. And Lyttelton and Governors Bay are still special places for me. I went to Cashmere high and a lot of my friends came on a bus from over the hill; it was a cool place to hang out growing up as a teenager.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?

I’m writing, recording and engineering as well, I’m having the time of my life! There’s no pressure and it’s super fun.

Bettie Monroe

Design darling: Helen Fraser of kiwi fashion retail success story Bettie Monroe

Fashion label Bettie Monroe is about so much more than dressing women; it’s about empowering them. Metropol talks to one half of this design duo – locally based Helen Fraser about creating beauty and drawing inspiration.

Bettie Monroe

How would you describe Bettie Monroe’s design philosophy?
It’s about empowering women to feel confident and happy through their clothing and expression of personal style. We are not an age or size; we are fun, playful, whimsical and timeless. Our clothes last the distance, are feminine and versatile. Being proudly New Zealand made enables us to deliver garments at the highest quality and sustainably.

What attracted you to fashion design?
I’ve been sewing and making clothes since I was seven years old, my mum taught me. It’s who I am, the creativity and fun of putting something together and enjoying wearing it. I have an eye for colour and design and I love to make people smile, whether it’s styling ladies for an event or a pretty, uplifting fabric which is loved.

Why do you think people have connected so much with what you do?
I was bought up on a dairy farm, in the clean country air, where I loved nature, the beauty of colours and landscapes. I have woven these intrinsic values to my business, through vibrant colours, playful prints and versatile clothing. Some of our dresses and tops can be worn several ways, easy to style and are super comfy. An outfit to can take you from daytime fun to an evening out, just change your shoes, it’s that simple and fits the busy lifestyles we lead.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Nature… I love the simplicity of it, the beauty of colours. We have lots of floral prints, as well as the vibrant base colours to style with and get more out of your outfit. I never stop, I may see a cool design someone is wearing, or a photo on Pinterest, or the way a fabric drapes. I love what I do, therefore I am inspired to create pieces that evolve and will add fun to our customers’ lives.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: On what she wanted to be when she grows up

When I was 10, I wanted to be a forensic scientist; when I was 11, I wanted to be a veterinarian; but ever since I was 12 years old I have wanted to be a journalist.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

A somewhat unusual occupation for a young person growing up in a small rural town, in fact, I can remember a favourite teacher gently guiding me in another direction. Fact is, at face value, it wasn’t an achievable goal.
Due to a complete lack of relevant work experience options in my town, school work experience was spent at the local vet and, although this undoubtedly would have resulted in an extremely fulfilling career, writing was where my heart was – although my three dogs stand as testament to my love of animals.
Eventually, after leaving my family to commence several years of study, I got there, the first in my immediate family to attend university. But that is the country we live in. It’s a country of opportunity; it’s a country of ‘if you work hard you can achieve’ and it’s a country where anything is possible.
Also from a small rural town is our beautiful cover model this issue. From the small South Otago town of Milton, Sam Hayes made her way up to the big lights of Auckland and found herself on the hot seat of Nightline at an incredible age of 23. She hasn’t stopped achieving and pushing the boundaries of what is achievable. She was, and is, an inspiration.
At the time of print, Sam was heading into the elimination episode of Dancing With the Stars and, although we doubt this fleet-footed beauty is at risk of leaving us, Suzy Cato’s shock elimination goes to show that anything can happen in the world of reality TV.
So all the best Sam – your former Tokomairiro High School classmates aren’t ready to see you leave just yet.

Sam Hayes

Dance floor diva: meet the newscaster dancing her way into our hearts in our Q&A with Sam Hayes

Sunday and Monday nights, many of us are locked to TV Three to watch some of our much-loved celebrities swing, pirouette, lunge and cha-cha their way across our screens in an attempt to become New Zealand’s heartfelt winner of Dancing with the Stars. Metropol talks to Sam Hayes about her journey from the news desk to the dance floor.

Sam Hayes

How far out of your comfort zone is ballroom dancing?

The show is right at the very edge of my comfort zone but I’ve managed to get the nerves under control now we’re a few weeks in. I’ve never danced before, so every week means starting our assigned style from scratch, remembering the steps and trying to breathe confidence and emotion into every movement. I liken it to climbing a mountain every week, because that’s what the challenge feels like! I’d probably prefer to tackle a mountain to be honest, but I’m throwing everything I’ve got at dancing and having a lot of fun along the way.

How important is your chosen charity, Riding for the Disabled, to you?

I wanted to support a charity that helps children and because I grew up riding horses and teaching kids to ride, NZ Riding for the Disabled (RDA) seemed like the perfect fit. There are 55 RDA centres around the country that work with thousands of children and adults with disabilities every week, using four legged therapists to assist the development of their bodies and minds.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet several young riders who just love their weekly sessions. Seven year old Pippa has spina bifida and rides with braces on her legs. It’s brilliant physiotherapy for her and helps develop the muscles in her legs, back and core, all while she’s having fun and not thinking about any pain. Seeing the smiles on the RDA riders’ faces is motivation enough for me to get cracking with five or more hours of dance training each day.
RDA has a long waiting list and wants to reach double the number of people they already do. I want to do everything I can to help them reach that goal and once I have some free time again (after the show is finished!) I’ll be volunteering as often as I can.

How has your career thus far prepared you for Dancing with the Stars?

More than a decade in a news studio has certainly helped me with the live TV aspect of the show, but that’s about it. Dancing with the Stars is completely different to anything I’ve ever done before and it’s fair to say it really pushes me out of my comfort zone, but I love a good challenge and it’s for a great cause.

Have you always loved dancing?

I love music but I’ve never danced before and never thought I would find myself taking up a dancing challenge like this one. Do I love dance? Of course! Aaron and I went to see the Cuban ballet company Ballet Revolución for some inspiration and I was absolutely floored by their beauty and skill, especially now I have a bit of insight into just how difficult it really is.

Do you find it a challenge physically or is it more of a mental challenge?

Both. Physically, I am getting fitter and stronger, but there’s no time to rest and recover so every week it gets a bit harder, rather than easier. Mentally, I find my mind fatigues more quickly than my body, and I get frustrated when a move or sequence isn’t sinking in. It’s been so good for me to face that mental and physical fatigue and push myself to keep going. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and what I’m capable of. It’s been such a positive and rewarding journey – and I have to say a huge thank you to my dance partner Aaron for that.

You’re in great shape on the show; how much preparation went in before and was it enough for the demands you’re facing now?

Not nearly enough! I thought I was reasonably fit before the show; I went to the gym a couple of times a week and would run a fair bit too but none of that prepared me for the physical demands. I’ve trained for a minimum of four hours a day, every day since Easter, back in March. There are definitely moments when everything hurts!
Earlier in the season I was on Tramadol for a rib injury, thanks to a lift in one of our dances. But is it all worth it? Absolutely. We’re supporting an incredible charity and I’m now starting to believe we could make it to the final. I’d love to win that mirror ball trophy for all the kids at Riding for the Disabled. If they can overcome the challenges in their lives then I can push on through the mental and physical fatigue and hopefully make them proud each week when we take to the dancefloor.

Do you have anyone you admire from the show? How’s the dynamic with the other dancers?

We’re a happy little family at the studio. We’re all going through the same ups and downs and supporting each other through it. I admire each and every one of the professional dancers. They’re not only teaching their celebrities a dance each week in record time, but they choreograph that dance too. They’re endlessly creative and encouraging in what is a highly stressful environment. They’re the real stars.

Can Do Catering

Catering with a purpose: Can Do Catering are the social enterprise business you need to hire to do your next work morning tea

Stefan Freuding’s passion for cuisine has taken him to kitchens around the globe. The 32-year-old chef has worked in Europe, Australia and the Middle East – but it’s a little kitchen in Christchurch that has captured his heart. He’s landed the perfect job that combines his flair for food and his love for helping others.

Can Do Catering
Stefan Freuding

Stefan is the head chef at the Laura Fergusson Trust Canterbury’s initiative, Can Do Catering. It’s a social enterprise business with a clear goal – to provide ordinary life opportunities for people with traumatic brain injuries and other physical disabilities.
The catering business was set up in 2015 by the Laura Fergusson Trust Canterbury with the aim to give its clients “ordinary life opportunities” and gain meaningful, paid employment. The organisation plays a leading role in providing traumatic brain injury rehabilitation in the South Island, and is dedicated to changing how we see and value people with brain injury and other disabilities.
Stefan, who is from Blaidhach, Germany, jumped at the chance to be part of the catering enterprise where he helps the employees create quality cuisine. “The residents are really inspiring, and it’s amazing to see them thrive and feel pride in their work,” Stefan says.
Seven disabled employees work alongside Stefan to prepare and deliver food for a variety of functions, morning teas and board meetings, for clients including the Christchurch City Council.
Stefan joined Can Do Catering in April 2018 as the Head Chef, bringing 16 years of global cuisine knowledge with him. He started his career in a small, traditional German restaurant, but it was the lure of travel that led him to jump continents, cooking in kitchens in Australia, Dubai and Bermuda.
“When you come from a small town in Germany, it is eye-opening to work in different parts of the world and such a great opportunity to work with top chefs,” he says.
Stefan, who also cooks for the less fortunate through Christchurch City Mission in his spare time, says he was ready for his day job to become more meaningful. He left the hotel industry after working for five years in New Zealand – and he knows he has found the perfect fit.
“At Can Do Catering I help residents to get back into the workforce and see them succeed. It’s inspiring to work with them every day,” Stefan explains.
“I had one resident who started off very shy, but after showing him a few recipes in the kitchen and getting him to help with chopping and peeling, he can’t wait to come back to work.
“It’s an amazing feeling to come to work every day knowing you’re making a difference in someone’s life.”
For more information, visit www.candocatering.co.nz or www.instagram.com/candocanterbury.

the Ministry of Awesome

An awesome enterprise: Q&A with the Ministry of Awesome’s Chief Awesome Officer Marian Johnson

A social enterprise established in the dark days post-quake to encourage positivity, collaboration, activation and support for a city that was struggling to survive, the Ministry of Awesome is a creative crew making some pretty cool moves.

the Ministry of Awesome

We talk to the organisation’s Chief Awesome Officer, Marian Johnson about the awesome work of this clever collaboration.

You’ve just celebrated six years in business, what is the organisation’s main role?

Ministry of Awesome is the starting point for entrepreneurs, innovators and startups. We deliver the essential ingredients necessary to ensure a thriving and dynamic entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem.
We offer a Startup Activation Programme for any early stage entrepreneur or startup, which includes capability training, introductions to networks, and 100+ events every year that sustain our city’s influential and supportive innovation community. Last year, we saw more than 1,000 entrepreneurs come through our doors! We also operate AwesomeHQ – an inspiring co-working space at 192 St Asaph Street in the city centre.

How integral is it that we support entrepreneurs and start-ups here in Christchurch?

Entrepreneurs and innovators are key to Christchurch’s successful future as the ‘City of Opportunity’. And, for these change-makers, there is no better place to be than Christchurch whose ambition is to transform into a world leading city in its approach to sustainability, innovation and a collaborative economy.
By delivering the essential ingredients necessary for a flourishing startup and innovation ecosystem, we provide an environment that powers our fellow citizens forward to success. And, by creating this nurturing and dynamic environment, Christchurch will attract regional, national and international talent, all of whom will be part of this great future Christchurch – the City of Opportunity.

How did you first become involved?

I’d heard stories of Ministry of Awesome and had a vague understanding of the positive work it was doing but was light on detail until I was a founding member of Fluent Scientific, a tech startup from the Powerhouse Ventures stable. Ministry of Awesome played a crucial role in our early market validation process by opening up their powerful network, particularly in the area of tertiary education providers.
This early introduction allowed us to run successful pilot programmes that validated our product, customer and market. Without those initial introductions, it would have taken us 12 months or more to open those relationships and get traction. For a startup with a short runway, early and efficient market, customer and product validation are critical.
When the role of Chief Awesome Officer came up, I was already a convert of the organisation and could see the positive impact the organisation was having on the city’s nascent startup scene. I love Christchurch, I love our organisation’s mission, and I couldn’t be more grateful to our community, our supporters, and our trustees for allowing me to lead this mission.

What’s the most fulfilling aspect of what you do?

We are so lucky to see innovation first hand and to meet so many talented individuals every day. If the average citizen of Christchurch could see the innovation and sheer talent in our city, they would be equally inspired and so very excited to live here. We are telling these stories as loudly as we can alongside some incredible organisations like ChristchurchNZ, EPIC, Canterbury Tech, XCHC, The Chamber, Canterbury Angels, ARA, and UC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Cameron Bailey

On top of the world: We chat to the number one Harcourts sales consultant in the world who just happens to be Christchurch’s very own Cameron Bailey

Cameron Bailey has been awarded the number one Harcourts sales consultant in the world and is also thrilled that the company he is part owner in has had its Papanui office announced as the top office for Harcourts out of over 800 offices globally. Metropol talks to Cameron about the 15 years of dedication behind the accolade.

Cameron Bailey

What attracted you to real estate?

I’ve always been a people person and prior to real estate I was working in hospitality – restaurants and cafés. I’ve always loved property since buying my first home at 20. The longer I’m in real estate, the more I realise it’s about the people and not the houses. I see a real estate agent as the middle man negotiating fair value between sellers and buyers. Building rapport and trust with both sides gets the deal done.

How do you get to be the No 1 Harcourts salesperson in the world?!

I’ve only achieved this accolade twice in a fifteen-year career. I think people see the award but don’t realise there’s fifteen years of hard work behind it to get there. I also have an amazing team of sales consultants and personal assistants that I work with who drive the business behind me. In this marketplace the successful agents are backed by a team, so they can provide better service and better support than a lone ranger agent.

What has been your recipe for success in the real estate space?

As I’ve said before, work ethic is always the basis for success but after fifteen years in the industry I bring to the table a lot of experience and credibility. In a tighter marketplace the credibility of the agent representing your property can mean extra money when it comes to the sale price. I always like to think that we’ve been ahead of the trends and other agents follow us and look at us for what to do in the market.

What does a day in your life look like?

Monday to Friday my alarm goes off at 5am. I go to the gym at 6am, breakfast at 7:30am, arrive at the office at 8:15am, I am in and out of appointments all day and I am constantly on the phone in between appointments. Usually I finish the work day after 8pm, or even later if I’m negotiating a deal or appraising a property. Saturdays and Sundays, I work both days and usually do 12-14 open homes for the weekend. Real estate is a lifestyle, not a job.

Besides from real estate what else are you passionate about?

I have two beautiful identical twin girls that are now seven, I try and spend as much time with them as I can and our favourite place to go for a quick week away is Fiji. I also try to lead a healthy lifestyle, I’m a fitness fanatic and I’m obsessed with eating healthy food. I’m trying to eat a keto based diet at the moment. I love travelling and I try to have some down time overseas a couple of times a year with South America being on the hit list in the near future. I’m also a car enthusiast; I’ve loved cars since I was a kid.

Any words to live by?

One of my favourite quotes at the moment is, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” – Martin Luther King.

How to DAD

How to DAD: Q&A with funny father and internet sensation Jordan Watson

He’s the classic Kiwi bloke, in stubbies and gumboots. It’s pretty safe to say, a fairly unlikely candidate for teaching an entire generation of men how to parent, right?

How to DAD

Yet Jordan Watson has turned his 15 minutes of good natured internet infamy into a full time job doing just that – teaching men How to Dad.

Left briefly to his own devices with his newborn baby in 2015, Jordan made an instructional video, How to hold a baby, for a colleague with a baby on the way, posted the video on his mate’s Facebook page and went to bed.
Ten hours later, the video had hit 250,000 views and the rest, as they say, is history.

How much of a shock has this journey been for you?

It was pretty crazy to begin with – one video, just for fun, went WORLDWIDE! I grasped that opportunity with both hands and worked bloody hard on creating; filming new ideas to keep it all chugging along. Didn’t want to be a one hit wonder so any success now is well earnt. We still get the most random, awesome opportunities all the time and still can’t believe this is now my full time job.

Why do you think people have connected so strongly with what you do?

I don’t think there was anything other than having a bit of a laugh with this whole parenting thing from a dad’s perspective. I think that was the unplanned point of difference. Oh, and my legs in those stubbies of course.

What would your biggest piece of parenting advice be?

Relax! Stop googling everything, go with your gut. She’ll be right.

How much has your life changed since all of this started?

Well, I had a full time job and didn’t see my kids as much as I wanted to and now, for the past year, I have been working from home full time doing all this How to Dad stuff, so get to hang out with them way more – that’s bloody awesome.

What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done in a video to date?

Bungy jumped to ‘launch’ my book / wore my stubbies and bush shirt down a red carpet movie premiere in New York in -6 degrees!

What’s the scariest thing about parenting?

When you get baby poop on your finger.

How does a day in the life of Jordan Watson look these days?

Wake up, get big kid ready for school, feed other kid, help wife. Check emails, work on ideas, meetings, play with kids, film something, edit something, play with kids, pick up big kid from school, emails, bit more editing, hang with kids, dinner, kids showers and bed, chill for a bit, back to emails, client stuff, editing – chill with wifey, sleep.
But to be honest, there is no normal day in the life. Every day is different and that keeps it all exciting. We have a family trip to Queenstown in four days’ time to film a video for a company. Ok, cool!

You’re heading to Christchurch soon for an event, what are you looking forward to about heading down our way?

I’m looking forward to summer like temperatures of at least 28 degrees….. Yeah?

What has the next 12 months got in store for you?

A lot of the same, a lot of new, and a lot of secret stuff I can’t tell you or I’d have to throw a gumboot at ya.

Josh Emett

Woo-ing the nation: Q&A with celebrity chef Josh Emett

Josh Emett heads an empire that counts some of the country’s much-loved hotspots in its repertoire, including Rātā, Ostro and Madam Woo. Metropol talks to this culinary creative about his new restaurant offering, a new cook book and Woo-ing the nation.

Josh Emett

Where did your passion for food come from?

I have always loved cooking right from a young age and I am very lucky to have turned that into a great career for myself. I use the same approach every time, regardless of what restaurant or what style of cooking, it’s all about the produce and ensuring that whatever comes in the back door of the restaurant is great, as local as possible and seasonal. We use free range wherever possible and we try to create the sort of dishes that will make people turn around and come back and eat them again the next day. I love being able to share my food experiences with our customers through ingredients they know, presented in a different or challenging way.

You started Rātā in Queenstown, Ostro in Auckland and the Madam Woo restaurant chain. What are you up to now?

Yes, I have been extroidanairily busy in the few years since I returned to New Zealand from working overseas. My business partner Fleur Caulton and I are very proud of Rātā in Queenstown and our Madam Woo restaurants in Queenstown, Christchurch, Hamilton, Dunedin and Takapuna. They are much loved and are becoming well known across the country. We’ve had a very busy start to this year actually, with the launch of our fast-casual spin off of Madam Woo — Hawker & Roll — first up at Sylvia Park in Auckland this past December, and more recently we opened the second one in Queenstown. That’s taken a lot of my time recently, as well as planning a new cook book and of course always innovating our menu at Madam Woo and keeping it fun, fresh, and exciting for customers.

What is the winning recipe for a great dining establishment?

We have a few keywords we use for Madam Woo, especially for service staff, which are fun, energetic, knowledgeable, delicious, and genuine. It needs to be all of those things when you come in to have a good time. The vibe has got to be noisy and energetic; food needs to be absolutely delicious and that will always be a massive focus of ours. We pour so much energy into making sure the food is outstanding and consistent, and that the service is lively and really genuine. At Rātā we have a very different approach, but we still use similar keywords like genuine, knowledgeable and fun as we think they are key to creating a great experience.

How did your childhood growing up in the small farming community of Ngahinapouri in the Waikato influence your tastes and culinary preferences?

I had a deep respect for fresh produce ingrained in me from a young age because I had the privledge of growing up on a farm where we had access to amazing ingredients; my mother did a ot of preserving and was a great cook. When I was still quite young I spent a lot of time in my parent’s kitchen experimenting with flavours and that love and passion for cooking is what ultimately drove me to pursue it as a career.

Heading into winter, what are some of your go-to comfort meals?

My go to dish for winter has got to be a curry. There’s something super comforting and warming about having a nice bowl of hot & spicy veg and meat, served with coconut or steamed jasmine rice.

How does a day in the life of Josh Emett look these days?

My days are usually extremely busy. I‘m up early every morning before the kids rise to train and exercise. Always a coffee and always a decent breakfast to set me up for the day ahead, then some time with the kids before they head off to school. Helen and I always have a catch up about who is doing what and when. Then I am either at my desk and on my phone working or often travelling around the country visiting restaurants, talking to my chefs and staff, testing dishes, planning menus etc. I am always on the lookout for new sites wherever I go. I try and divide my time between all of our restaurants as much as possible across the month.

What does the next 12 months have in store for you?

I always have lots of things going on although I do try to have a balanced life. There’s a lot of focus on the development of Hawker & Roll, hopefully we will open a few more— we’ve already signed onto Commercial Bay in Auckland so that will happen in the next 12 months at least. I’m also writing a new cookbook which is exciting. Aside from that we always have our heads down focused on all our restaurants to make sure they are running like clockwork.

Maree Lucas

A fashionable crusade: Q&A with Maree Lucas of M Factor Events

Maree Lucas brought tears to the eyes of some of the biggest fashion followers last month at one of the city’s most covetable fashion shows of the year. Supporting a cause very close to her heart, the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Fashion Show is her annual contribution to a charitable cause which has done so much for her own family.

Maree Lucas
Maree Lucas

Born prematurely, one with a hole in her heart, Maree’s twin nieces spent time at Starship, with the family staying at RMH during their treatment. Metropol talks to the school principal and owner of M Factor Events about this very worthy cause.

How did you become involved with RMH?

A friend was organising a fashion show for Ronald McDonald House about 14 years ago and I was modelling in it. I gave her a hand on the day with the organising and met the team from RMH and realised what a special charity it was. I was already organising events, so this then became one of my annual events and we used it to raise money for RMH. It is such a fun event and relates well with the RMH charity as there are so many children involved and it’s about gorgeous fashion, but also has different aspects to a normal fashion show – the All Blacks/Crusaders always add some character and the amount of children involved makes it a really lively event.

How fulfilling is it to be able to give back to an organisation which has given so much to your own family?

It definitely is a special place. The fact my family have stayed there and used Ronald McDonald House makes the event even more special for me. It’s lovely to be able to give back to a place that gives so much each and every day.

How much time goes into planning and preparation for an event such as this?

We have started working on next year’s show already, so a lot of thought and preparation goes into it. It definitely becomes easier each year as we build our sponsors and supporters. Generally once someone has come along to the event, they want to give back in some way the following year, whether through sponsorship, donating auction/raffle items, modelling, volunteering or just spreading the word about ticket sales. As I am a full time primary school principal, it is something I do in my spare time. Generally I use the January school holidays to get a lot of it organised, plus I always have my school involved. It’s a great way for the children to learn how to give back and pay it forward.

How successful was this year’s event compared to previous years?

I was really happy with this year’s event. There was such a positive and energetic vibe in the audience; the models looked great and have so much fun on the catwalk showcasing the gorgeous clothes and the most important thing to me is to raise awareness of this amazing charity. On top of that, we managed to raise over $60,000 for RMH.